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Milder March on its way as mercury set to hit high teens

On the beach: The 'tall ship' William II sails along the north-east coast near Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

MARCH is set to turn mild, with above-average temperatures expected for the time of year.

Following heavy rain and cooler conditions, the mercury is forecast to rise to a balmy 17C (62.6F) in some parts of the UK tomorrow and Thursday.

The average maximum temperature for the UK in March is 8.9C (48F).

Eastern parts of the country, which are sheltered from westerly winds, are likely to see the best of the sunshine and warmer weather, the Met Office said.

‘If the sun comes out in sunny spells they could get up to that 17C peak temperature, but the majority of temperatures are going to be more around the mid-teens,’ said spokesman Richard Miles.

After the storm: A seagull stands on a rusty chain near the breakwater in Plymouth Sound, Devon

‘It will pretty much be mild everywhere but it’s just that those peak temperatures are more likely to be on the eastern side of the country.’

Aberdeen could hit 17C (62.6F), while the Midlands is likely to see 15C (59F) and west Wales around 12C (53.6F).

Northern Ireland will continue to experience some showery, blustery weather, especially along the coast, and temperatures are unlikely to rise above 15C (59F).

Temperatures are expected to cool slightly towards the weekend but the weather will remain settled, Mr Miles added.

Patch of blue: Tynemouth lighthouse PICTURES: PA

‘There will be some rain possibly in the very north west but most places will be reasonably dry and fairly mild,’ he said.

‘On Saturday there are some showery outbreaks possible in the south.’

The drier and warmer weather will come as a welcome relief after heavy downpours at the weekend, with parts of Wales having half a month’s rain in the space of a day.

The highest temperature of the year so far is 21.2C (70.2F), recorded last month in Kew, south-west London.

The highest March temperature on record is 25.6C (78.1F) in Cambridgeshire in 1968.